University heads in Manchester are to looking into allegations of drunken ferry fracas on a recent channel crossing with hundreds of students on board.

Top officials from the Manchester Metropolitan University as well as the University of Manchester that were present at the incident on the 1 April sailing said on Wednesday that they would be looking into the claim by ferry firm P&O that some of the intoxicated students had engaged in fighting and others had exposed themselves during the ordeal.

The students were refused boarding by P&O for the return journey from Calais to Dover and had to travel back to the UK via Dunkirk and a different ferry company.

According to P&O officials, there were in excess of 1,500 people aboard the vessel during the crossing including a number of families. The company said in a report issued to Dover police that many passengers not associated with the universities had to be escorted to a special area of the ship to ensure that the would not be in “harm’s way”.

A spokesman for the University of Manchester said in a statement that an investigation was already underway and that his organisation was working alongside P&O in the effort of identifying any individuals guilty of criminal activity.